Organizations often invest in team-building initiatives because when people work well together, they are generally happier, more engaged, and more productive. But some team-building activities are more effective than others, especially when it comes to producing results back at work. The most effective corporate team-building activities combine fun with a challenge that really engages participants. They work together, solve a problem, and even have personal breakthroughs.
Experiential team-building activities are powerful because they do just that: they introduce a set of objectives that teams must achieve within a set time period, but in a fun, unexpected way. With an immersive theme and a game-like quality, it may seem like a break from work. But as the game unfolds, and people become deeply engaged in the tasks at hand, participants can often draw parallels between the activity and challenges they face at work.
If you are looking for a team-building activity that is fun but also valuable, consider an experiential activity. Here are some reasons why experiential team-building activities are company favorites.
They Improve Communication
Experiential team-building activities are impossible to complete without a healthy system of communication. If you’ve ever participated in an experiential activity, you know that they typically begin with a bit of chaos as groups work through the rules, the challenge, and the information that is available to help them meet their objectives. But as the challenge unfolds and the time ticks by, it becomes apparent that if they are going to win, they need to establish an effective way to communicate – and fast.
They Strengthen Problem-Solving
The types of challenges that are presented in experiential team-building activities are not the sort of thing that can be overcome with linear thinking. The rules change, conditions shift, and groups have to start attempting solutions that range from strategic to creative to completely off-the-wall.
What makes this so powerful is that when teams are removed from their regular workplace and given a challenge that doesn’t seem related to their jobs, there are no boundaries around who should be doing what, or which ideas are considered “realistic.” Participants who may not speak up in the context of their job are free to contribute, and as the groups begin to think more creatively, they build off one another and come up with game-changing solutions.
They Help Build Professional Relationships
Working together in an experiential team-building activity provides plenty of opportunities to develop relationships with colleagues. Whether you put participants together in their work-groups to help them improve team relationships, or split them across departments to help break down silos, you are giving them the chance to experience creativity and differences of opinion in a fun and risk-free way. People learn about one another and bond over the shared experience. When people can relate to each other, it helps them to work better together, draw on each other’s strengths, and learn from one another.
They Reveal Leadership Qualities
As groups work through an experiential team-building activity together, it’s easy to observe leadership qualities in ways you may not get the chance to see back at work. For example, if a group has a lot of strong personalities, you may see one or more participants who are able to channel that energy to the group’s general advantage. If a group seems to be made up of quiet or reluctant people, you may see someone who is able to draw them out and bring them together. Because there is no obvious connection to workplace roles within the activity, there is plenty of opportunity for natural leadership qualities to emerge. In addition, these activities give participants the chance to practice their leadership skills in ways their work situation may not currently include.
Not only do you get the chance to see the potential for leadership among your teams that you can encourage and develop, the participants themselves begin to see these qualities in themselves, and gain confidence to use them in new ways back at work.
People often spend more of their waking hours with their coworkers than they do with their friends and family. Creating fun within the workplace is a great stress-buster, and can help infuse some joy and enthusiasm in their day-to-day tasks.
Improve Your Teams, Improve Your Organization
Experiential team-building activities can be transformative for teams and organizations. When teams are functioning well, they communicate effectively, solve problems together, encourage one another, and enjoy working together. Everyone motivates everyone else to bring their best selves to work every day, to play to individual strengths, and collectively overcome individual weaknesses. And when that happens, the team will outperform what they would be capable of if each person worked in isolation.